Yesterday I was at The Parish School in Gainsborough to join in celebrations to mark the retirement of two teachers who, between them, have worked for 78 years at the school. Mr Harrison arrived at the school in 1968 and Mrs Spencer started in 1970. Over 1000 children have benefited from their teaching and guidance. It was clear from the tributes they have made a real and positive impact on the lives of those children. It was also evident that they have kept up-to-date with developments in education and teaching.
In a world which is besotted with celebrities who are often no more than the product of skilful public relations, it is the Mr Harrisons and Mrs Spences who are the real celebrites – giving a quality to life through their skills at releasing the potential of the young minds which have been entrusted to them year after year.
Vocation is often thought of in terms of being zapped by God, but I prefer a wider understanding of the concept of vocation – to recognise and use God-given skills and ability to advance the Kingdom of God. When young minds are opened to the possibilities of the gift of life, to the nature of community and to the potential we each have to bless community through our learning, then the Kingdom of God’s love goes forward – so yesterday I believe we were celebrating the God-given vocation of two gifted teachers – the real celebrities in our world.